the photos: wandering window displays (part two, melbourne)…
Posted in my heart wanders, stores, window displays May 17th, 2011 by pia

the first wandering window display: Coventry Bookstore in Melbourne

Many many months ago, way back when I was writing My Heart Wanders, I thought about what it would be like to finish the book, and what I’d like to do to celebrate the book’s release into the big wide world.  I dreamed up a rather wild idea – I wanted to go and visit various boutiques and bookstores, creating a ‘wandering window display’ in their windows, inspired by the fun I had making the window displays in Paris and Amsterdam. I liked the idea of these window displays just popping up around the city, randomly, with quotes from within my book, with images and ideas that I explore in the book taking form in ‘3d’ within a shop window. I thought that I’d get a resounding ‘no’ from my publisher when I proposed my wild idea during a meeting earlier this year. Instead, I received a booming ‘yes!‘ from everyone in the conference room, I couldn’t quite believe it. Then I was lucky enough to be teamed up with book publicist Ashlea Wallington, who  – as I mentioned in my Melbourne post – loves getting crafty, and doesn’t mind the challenge of an untraditional author like myself.

To Ashlea and my delight, lots of boutiques and bookstores put up their hands for a wandering display, and so I’ve been busy every week throughout the month of May, creating my wandering displays. The first window I created was on May 1st in Melbourne, at Coventry Bookstore

me having fun making the display, photos by ashlea wallington

Would you like to know a little of the process of making the displays? As you guys already know, I like to use what I have. So it’s probably no surprise that my inspiration for the window displays came when I was unpacking the boxes that arrived from Amsterdam a month ago. Everything in the boxes was wrapped in recycled packing paper. It was not too thick but not too thin. It was pliable and looked as good all scrunched up as it did all smooth and flat. Without thinking much about it, I’d begun collecting the paper – flattening out each sheet and putting it in a pile on the lounge room floor. Soon there was a huge stack of paper, and I was inspired by the layered edges. They reminded me, somehow, of flowers. And then I thought, perhaps I can make paper flowers? So that’s what I did – I began making paper flowers by tightly gathering small pieces of the paper, bundling them together and tying them with string. I loved the effect, so over many days and nights, I made hundreds of paper flowers for the window displays…

I made this origami boat out of brown paper gift wrap, a diary page from My Heart Wanders as the sail, paper flowers and some ribbon with my name on it

Then, because my journey in the book begins in autumn of 2006, I wanted to create autumnal scenes for the displays. So with this in mind I began forming my ideas, while looking around my surroundings for inspiration & things I could use. My friend Jenni came over one day and made a beautiful brown paper wreath using a big roll of brown paper I’d kept from my shop days. You can see the wreath in its full glory in that first photo in the window of Coventry Bookstore. Jenni also made the heart garlands and gorgeous little paper books which I combined with some of favourite spreads from within My Heart Wanders

Ashlea and I had a ball creating this first window display. And at the end, I wrote this on the window…

“four years ago something very peculiar happened. My heart wandered.”

The leaves and flowers that we used in the displays in Melbourne were supplied by In Full Bloom – a beautiful florist just around the corner from Coventry. They were closed the day we were making the displays, so they dropped off a big bundle of floral props including hydrangeas and birch branches for me at the bookstore the day before. Thank you In Full Bloom! I had a peek in your window while in the neighbourhood, inspirational indeed…

Our next stop was Avenue Bookstore in Albert Park. They had quite a different window – it was tall and skinny, and had a lovely wooden cabinet for book displays. Ashlea and I stripped the cabinet bare and began assembling little vignettes in each cubby hole…

…using hydrangeas, paper flowers, book pages and birch branches…

It started to get dark quite quickly outside, but it didn’t deter us, though it made it more difficult to take photos of the process…

By the time we finished it was night! And we had a plane to catch back to Sydney. But before I left the store I drew a whimsical (as a lovely customer called it) tree on the window out the front, and signed some books. A week later the staff at Avenue called Ashlea to say they’ve had a fabulous response to the window display and had sold lots of books. That, I love…

Thank you Coventry and Avenue for lending me your windows to play in! A big thank you to Ashlea for all her help and making my weekend in Melbourne wonderful, to In Full Bloom for supplying such beautiful floral pieces, and thank you to Jenni for helping me make the paper props. Oh what fun we had. Next up: wandering window displays in Sydney…

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  1. Jane S says

    Stunning Pia…your book is a piece of magic!

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  2. joanna says

    Love your windows .I was driving by albert park and saw it had to stop and look, took a couple of pics too, I have your book already

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  3. Maria Hannaford says

    What gorgeous displays of window art! I actually work just around the corner from the Coventry Bookstore, and was able to take a photo of that window and include it in a post on my own blog. I loved the display!

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  4. Lisette says

    Thanks for sharing what sounds like so much fun!

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  5. Lisette says

    (and looks so beautiful, I forgot to add)

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  6. bonitarose says

    one day soon, I can’t wait to buy your book. xo hugs the display is absolutely stunning! xo hugs

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  7. Marietta says

    The displays are very creative… I also created window displays for many years in gift and floral shop and can appreciate the effort brought forward… The use of recycle is wonderful and oh so budget friendly… Enjoyed your post…

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  8. Ameesha Lee says

    Amazing post Pia! Your windows are beautiful. I love creating little sets like this! I dream of one day creating window displays for my very first children’s book I’ve just finished writing & am now illustrating! Very inspiring to see things being done differently from most authors. Thank you! x

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  9. Clare Pirie says

    Inspirational…I was in Anthropologie on Regent Street in London just this afternoon and they had done a hanging paper flower display (very different from this, the flowers were flat and overlayed on larger strips of paper) but these pictures have really got me excited to try something like it myself! Thanks.

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  10. Ana says

    I couldn’t wait for this post. I am blown away and think this is the best and most beautiful display I’ve ever seen. J’adore.

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  11. nadia says

    it is so lovely pia.

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  12. Rosa says

    What a wonderful idea! And the windows look amazing… You are very talented!!

    May 17th, 2011 | #

  13. Jenni Booth says

    Wow Pia, what an evolution; from us sitting on the floor of your house surrounded by scrunches of paper, to these works of art!! Spectacular!! Glad the wreath held together. Looks beautiful, well done, was so happy to be a part of it!! xx

    May 18th, 2011 | #

  14. MissHeliotrope says

    If the paper was not too thick & not too thin, watch out in case that Goldilocks girl has a craft project going…

    May 18th, 2011 | #

  15. Emma Burgess says

    Hi Pia,
    I am new to your blog, and from it found your book, ‘My Heart Wanders’. I bought the last copy in a Hobart bookstore last week. It is a beautiful book- I loved it. Today I have purchased, ‘Paris: Made by Hand’. Can’t wait to curl up with my coffee while my baby sleeps and enjoy it. Emma. P.S. Love, love, love your window displays.

    May 18th, 2011 | #

  16. Anna says

    Wow, the windows look beautiful!!

    May 18th, 2011 | #

  17. Trudy says

    Your book is so amazing. It inspires me constantly and your display windows are just gorgeous!

    May 18th, 2011 | #

  18. Scarlet Jones says

    Beautiful display’s Pia!

    May 18th, 2011 | #

  19. Sweet Freak says

    Pia, you are absolutely amazing. Thank you for inspiring me today. 🙂

    May 18th, 2011 | #

  20. Dee Purdy says

    truly beautiful pia.

    May 18th, 2011 | #

  21. stephanie says

    Hi Pia,
    my beautiful partner Adam bought me your book as a way to keep my spirit soaring and inspiration mounting. It’s been a tough journey making my own “handmade” homewares steph & gaia, but with a vogue living article being published soon I related so much to what you wrote and to your sensitive way of viewing the world and our surroundings. What a joy to know that such kindred souls are out there doing like minded things. stephanie

    May 19th, 2011 | #

  22. manon says



    May 19th, 2011 | #

  23. alma says

    This is superb!

    May 19th, 2011 | #

  24. Ann Marie says

    oh, pia! it’s incredible. i love it. but i have to admit, i am most smitten with you…your elegance and beauty…and i LOVE your black tee and plaid trousers. perfection.

    May 20th, 2011 | #

  25. Anne says

    If only there were more windowsdisplays like those! You are so gifted!

    And I have a question, with what did you write on the window?

    May 20th, 2011 | #

  26. design elements says

    love love love your book! magic!

    May 21st, 2011 | #

  27. eva vercauteren says

    What a beautiful display! Such a lovely atmosphere you’ve created.

    May 21st, 2011 | #

  28. Suzanne Perazzini says

    These are delicate and ephemeral window displays. I must check out your book online.


    May 21st, 2011 | #

  29. FrankieandNicole says

    These displays are gorgeous! Cannot wait to get our hands on your book 🙂

    May 22nd, 2011 | #

  30. Prudence @ Flotsam Friends says

    Adoring your little drifters in the window. Perfection. Pruxxx

    May 22nd, 2011 | #

  31. found and sewn says

    I’ve just discovered your beautiful blog, lovely photos!

    May 22nd, 2011 | #

  32. stephanie caldwell says

    oh pia! you are oh so talented. i’m always so happy to see the beauty you’re creating.

    May 22nd, 2011 | #

  33. beth says

    So lovely in so many ways. I love when you just happen upon an amazing window display when you’re out walking about- it’s kind of like finding an art gallery on the street.

    May 23rd, 2011 | #

  34. Triscia says

    Stumbled across your magical display on Crown Street, Surry Hills,you have such a gift! Your blog and work are a daily source of inspiration to me and our studio! Thank you.

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  35. Calico Child says

    Oh wow what a gorgeous display you have created you are a true talent!! 🙂

    August 31st, 2011 | #

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